Everyone knows about Europe’s artsy hipster capitals, overflowing with street food, coffee shops and skaters – we’re talking Berlin, London and Amsterdam to name but a few. But where can you go to find the real deal? If you’re looking for bohemian districts, contemporary galleries and studios, street art and cool one off events then it’s worth looking outside the tourist hotspots. There’s so much street art in Europe that it’s worth looking beyond the obvious choices to lesser known cities – let our guide point you in the right direction.
Porto might not have crossed your radar as a tourist destination, but Lisbon’s more Northerly sister is an undiscovered gem which hasn’t yet been hit by huge numbers of tourists. Its array of beautiful but crumbling neighborhoods are the perfect location for street art and decay photography. You can stare through the unrepaired windows of hundreds of colorful tiled houses which are literally falling apart beneath their facades – this phenomenon is a result of Portugal’s strict restoration laws, combined with the economic crisis of recent years. They can’t be sold or repaired, so for now these houses are just being turned into art galleries on the streets and alleyways of Porto. To explore the undiscovered parts of the city, why not take a tour with The Worst Tours, who offer a local perspective on this beautiful city – explaining its history, culture and the social problems the city faces today.
Once known as France’s number one destination for grungy ports and pickpockets, Marseille has recently rediscovered its artistic side with a wealth of investment and development being put into the city’s former trouble spots. The surrounding region holds masses of artistic and architectural significance, with many modern and classical painters taking inspiration from the Southern French landscape. Modern street artists are starting to pick up on this, and are taking up residency within the huge regeneration projects in Marseille’s dock area. Street art graces every other street corner and galleries are springing up all over the city. Check out J1, an exhibition centre housed in an old aircraft hangar with bar and event spaces. In the past it’s been home to a showcase of Le Corbusier’s famous architectural experiments – in the 20s and 30s Marseille was the birthplace of the tower block as a new frontier of social housing. Using Modernist architecture and communal facilities, Le Corbusier saw a Utopian vision of the future. Discover the scene for yourself in Marseille.
Hamburg is Berlin’s less pretentious little sister. Just as much street food, just as many cool bars and amazing nights, but with less hype. This is the city that’s home to the Gaengeviertel concept – the idea of open communities of living, working artists who open the doors of their home-studios to visitors. You’ll find amazing murals covering the city’s buildings, and showcases such as Hamburg Art Week are a regular occurrence. It’s the epitome of Bohemian life, and it doesn’t attract nearly the number of tourists that Berlin’s famous street art scene does.
One of Europe’s newest tourist spots has to be Belgrade. After many years of turbulent history, this buzzing capital is making a name for itself as a centre of nightlife, art and urban culture. Since the early 2000s street artists have been making the city their home, bringing with them a more colourful landscape. Now more accepted by mainstream society, some of the most celebrated pieces of street art in Belgrade include the perspective bending “Salvadore Dali Corner”, as well as vast areas of New Belgrade, which in the fall of communism has turned into a kind of open air gallery for the gritty roots of street art. If you prefer your art undercover, why not head to any of the masses of galleries in the city – for example the Mrdjan Bajić gallery. Check out The Belgradian for more information on Belgrade’s top artists.
Why not discover some of Europe’s lesser known artistic capitals this summer? Euroventure can help you plan the route you’ve been dreaming of – whether it’s one of our interrailing packages, or something you’ve created yourself, we can organise your travels in 2021. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01133365198.